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New director identification requirements apply from 1 November 2021

From November 2021, directors of a company in Australia will need to verify their identity and apply for a director identification number (DIN) via the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) website.

A DIN is a unique 15-digit identifier that, once issued, will remain with you for life, regardless of whether you cease to be a director, change your name, change companies, or move overseas.

The new DIN requirement has been introduced to improve corporate conduct, prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities and reduce the occurrence of illegal phoenixing activity.

Who needs a director identification number?

You will need a DIN if you are a director or an alternate director of:

  • A company, a registered Australian body or a registered foreign company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act); or
  • An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).

This includes directors of:

  • A corporate trustee of a trust;
  • A corporate trustee of a self-managed super fund;
  • A corporate trustee of a limited recourse borrowing arrangement bare trust; or
  • A charity or not-for-profit organisation registered under the Corporations Act.

Who does not need a DIN?

A DIN is not required for:

  • A company secretary who is not also a director
  • A person acting as an external administrator of a company;
  • A business running as a sole trader or partnership; or
  • A person referred to as a “director” by job title, but who has not been appointed as a director under the Corporations Act or CATSI Act.

When do I need to apply?

Applications for director identification numbers can be submitted now.

Existing Corporations Act directors – i.e. those appointed on or before 31 October 2021 – will have until 30 November 2022 to apply for a director ID.  Existing CATSI Act directors will have until 30 November 2023.

For new director appointments, the application date depends on when you became a director:

Corporations Act directors

Date you became a director Date you must apply
On or before 31 October 2021 By 30 November 2022
Between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022 Within 28 days of appointment
From 5 April 2022 Before appointment

CATSI Act directors

Date you became a director Date you must apply
On or before 31 October 2021 By 30 November 2023
From 1 November 2022 Before appointment

How to apply for your director ID

DIN applications can be submitted online, over the phone, or via post. 

Directors must apply for their DIN themselves, as they must verify their identity.  This means that no one else, such as a registered tax agent, can apply on their behalf.

The fastest way to apply is via the ABRS website.  To complete the application, you will need:

  • A “standard” or “strong” identity strength myGovID;
  • An individual Australian tax file number (TFN). Providing a TFN is optional, but it will speed up the registration process;
  • Your residential address, as recorded by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO); and
  • Answers to two questions based on details the Government already knows about you, such as bank details of the account you’ve received an income tax refund in, or details from a notice of assessment issued by the ATO in the last five years.

Full details of the verification requirements and identifying options are available on the ABRS website.

What happens if I don’t comply?

There are significant civil and criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment, for failing to comply with your obligations as a director.  This includes failing to register for a DIN within the required timeframe.

We can help

Although we are unable to apply for a DIN on your behalf, our team can help you understand the application process, assist with obtaining your myGovID and provide guidance for your ongoing compliance obligations.  Contact us on 07 3217 2477 today.